Professional Management and Service Levels in Small U.S Communities

According to psychology of leadership by Hanbury, Sapat and Washington, before people ‘fit’ in leadership, first, they must understand themselves (566). Fitness is an autonomous variable that is determined by years of service the leader has or the experience they are bringing to the institution. In addition to these fitness attributes, any manager (including city) should have six characteristics before a declaration that they are fit to serve. These characteristics include the city manager’s leadership style, the city manager’s personality, the city manager’s perception, the city council’s perception, the demographic of the managers and the demographics of the cities where they work (Hanbury, Sapat and Washington 567).

See this custom writing service in case you need a paper done asap

The flexibility and efficiency are the main determinants of city manager leadership. In the determination of leadership sustainability, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is used to access the distinguished personality of a leader (Hanbury, Sapat and Washington 567). This indicator contains four separate indices that are intended to verify the respondent’s status on four dichotomies: extroversion versus introversion (E/I), sensation versus intuition (S/N), thinking versus feeling (T/F) and lastly judging versus perception (J/P). Each dichotomy produces two types of people, making, these four dichotomies produce 16 possible combinations. In the determination of fitness, these combinations are useful in the determination of city manager’s leadership.


The city managers perception over their position and responsibilities plays critical role in the determination of their leadership success. Thus, it is imperative to make a conclusion that city manager’s tenure is subjective on city councils perception on him/ her. In some instances, this perception can produce a good performance practices from the manager. In addition, numbers of cities under his jurisdiction as well as demographics within his/ her confines are also key factors in influencing the city manager’s tenure. In summary, the income, population trends and number, racial and ethnic percentage play an important role in deciding the tenure of the city manager (Hanbury, Sapat and Washington 569)

In a study conducted by International City/ County Management Association (ICMA), the mean length of service for a city manager is 6.4 years and the median length is 5.0 years. This duration (between five to six years) is not sufficient for any chief executive to stabilize an organization and run an agenda instituted by the city council (Hanbury, Sapat and Washington 566). Thus, it imperative that the main cause of problem between the city councils and their professional managers is attached to their relationship – which is short-term. In addition, the study (ICMA) shows that, the perceptive and introverted personality types may have positive impact on city managers’ tenure; despite that, higher leadership effectiveness was notable in shorter tenures between city councils and city managers.

In a research undertaken by Folz and Abdelrack shows that controlled cities or any organizational administration under by professional city managers acquire competitive as well as superior services (553). In this study, Folz and Abdelrack classify small cities as those with population of residents between 5,000 and 25,000 people. Further, a national survey conducted, indicate that municipal managers have a hard time determining the value of municipal services and programs. This problem is attributable to the failure to have distinction between the level of service provided and the value of the service experienced on the ground. Here, unit costs and extra proportional measures are significant determinants of the service intensity provision. The main influences of services include; their extent, nature and quality, in addition, delivery, regularity, concentration, exposure and handiness are also contributing aspects to service delivery. Therefore, city councils that offer broad and expedient service levels will incur higher costs than those proving average services. In spite of its importance service improvement and performance, Folz and Abdelrack note that, qualitative level of professional managers has received little attention.

In the determination of the level of service provided, tow main aspects are important. First, it is important to evaluate unit costs and performance outcomes between communities that offer relatively similar levels of service. This aspect is crucial since it can make similar performances comparison more reasonable and significant. Second, it is critical to understand how various cities deliver quality through accounting for differences in the level of service provided can be very helpful in affecting service outcomes (Folz and Abdelrack 554)

In the study, among chosen small communities, 90% provided 6 of 10 listed services. These services offered include police and fire protection, street maintenance, parks and recreation, water and sewer utility services, solid waste collection and disposal. In addition, over 83% of communities are affiliated to community development and economic function. Further, about 20% of communities offer financial aids to local public school system. From the study, it is notable that, police and fire protection, building code enforcement and solid waste management are the main functions provided by most small communities and were selected for assessment. Comparable data from various cities was used to determine the different levels of service within the four functions. These data was inclusive of information such as service budget, staffing level, staff training and skill, equipment and technology used among other factors.

These studies indicate that these communities that are governed by a city manager or by a chief administrative officer. These professional managers have the responsibility of providing better, superior and competitive services to the people they serve. Additionally, the professional ethics, guidance and proficiency of both city and town managers and administrators may encourage progress in the intensity of urban services provided to their communities (Folz and Abdelrack, 568). A momentous correlation exists between the types of management and qualitatively advanced level of service that recommends a course of causality that is equally strengthening. In their research, Folz and Abdelrack further show that, city managers have an advantage over elected mayors when it comes to assisting collaborative civic influence and instilling connoisseur running in the design of urban services (568). This aspect puts the city managers at an advantage in the sense that they enjoy more accomplishments in endorsing community welfare and protecting the public’s safety as compared to mayors (Folz and Abdelrack, 568). In addition, they indicate that the type of chief executive is a better forecaster of service quality level than form of government leadership. This expressly means that if the city manager is ‘fit’ for the position then he will deliver quality services regardless of the surrounding circumstances. Although it is perceived that, a goal-oriented, high-achieving, action-oriented, vision-driven chief executive may be described as the preferred leader but on the contrary, they experience a shorter tenure. Interestingly, introverted personality type- the inwardly driven, perceptive manager who is flexible to change and anarchy and who does not receive high effectiveness ratings contract a longer tenure (Hanbury, Sapat and Washington, 572).


Works Cited

Folz, David. H, and Abdelrazek, Reem. “Professional Management and Service Levels in Small U.S Communities.” The American Review of Public Administration 39.5 Sept. 2009: 553-559. Print.

Hanbury, George L, Alka Sapat and Charles .W. Washington. “Know Yourself and Take Charge of Your Own Destiny: The ‘Fit Model’ Of Leadership.” Public Administration Review 64.5 Sept. /Oct. 2004: 566-576. Print.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>